In this post we focus on what you can do at home to release tight muscles and increase strength in specific areas to combat rounded shoulder posture. If you often find yourself feeling slouched or hunched, we have some information for you!
What is rounded shoulder posture?
It describes the common postural problem when the shoulders, sit forward of the midline of the body (when looking at the body side-on). If you find that you feel slouched or hunched, you probably have rounded shoulders to some degree.
Why do I have rounded shoulders?
It often begins with participating in repetitive or lengthy tasks where we are likely to slip into hunched or slouched positions, such as:
– Working at a desk
– Long driving stints
Being in these positions frequently or for long periods can affect the normal balance of muscle activity and tension around the neck and shoulders.
The muscles at the front of the shoulders tend to:
– Become overactive
– Pull the shoulder forward
The muscles at the back of the shoulder tend to:
– Become weak
The shoulders then tend to sit forward and turn inward, over time this leaves us with poor posture, pain, reduced movement and headaches. It also increases the risk of overuse injuries due to poor biomechanics, where the joint and surrounding muscles have their movement inhibited.
With this in mind our aim is to firstly stretch the tight structures at the front, followed by strengthening the muscles at the back, which together will return the shoulder to a better position.
Other ways you can release through the pectorals and other contributing muscles at the front of the shoulder is to use a spiky ball. Do small circular motions, over particularly tender areas, take deep breaths and keep the ball there until you feel the tenderness slowly dissipate.
Once you get the hang of these chest releasing techniques, we can start releasing through the muscles that wrap around the side body and into the shoulders. For those interested in the anatomy, we are targeting the serratus anterior, latissimus dorsi and the obliques.
Stretch through the side body
Strengthening through the back of shoulders and shoulder blades
Strengthening through the rhomboids and lower trapezius muscles (between the shoulder blades) and the rotator cuff group is vital for drawing the shoulders back into a neutral position.
Stay consistent with these exercises and you will find not only will your posture improve, but you’re likely to have less headaches, shoulder, neck and back pain.
If you’re wanting to take this to the next level, incorporating stretching through the neck and the mid-back would be the next areas of focus. There will be upcoming blog posts about improving mobility in these areas.
For more specific advice for your particular postural problem or neck and shoulder pain, make an appointment with one of our Osteo’s or Remedial Massage therapists today.